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In the Beginning

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In the Beginning

Fundamentals of mammalian reproduction, presented through animation, photomicrography and natural photography.

Run time 15:42
Producer U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Dairy Industry, Extension Service, Division of Motion Pictures
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Contents. The evolution of life and the fundamentals of mammalian reproduction, presented through animation, photomicrography, and natural photography.
The commentator quotes William Harvey's statement that all animals have their origin in the single egg cell and views of several different animals illustrate this remark. Marching cadets, girls dressed in white marching in a religious procession, and men at work are shown as the commentator says, " all of mankind who have lived and labored on this planet since the beginning -- all have come from the microscopic egg, many, many times smaller than a mustard seed."

The investigation into the beginnings of life opens with views of biologists operating on a rabbit. Close-ups show the uterus, the ovary, the follicles, and oviduct. In an animated drawing the reproductive organs of a female rabbit are identified and their functions explained. Close-ups many times normal size show a follicle bursting and releasing the egg. A recently fertilized egg is washed out of the rabbit's oviduct. The reel closes with a microscopic view of the egg.
Reel 2 opens with microscopic views of sperm cells approaching the egg. One and, as the commentator explains, only one enters the egg. When the sperm enters the egg, a membrane forms that excludes the other sperm cells. Under the microscope a fertilized egg is shown dividing into cells as the commentator explains the process of accelerating growth. After a close-up of the rabbit's uterus, which contains seven rabbit embryos, one embryo is removed from the uterus. The placenta and umbilical cord are clearly identified. Adult animals with their young and finally a human baby are shown.

Appraisal. Reported excellent for (1) providing information on ovulation, fertilization, and early stages in the development of the mammalian egg and (2) developing an understanding of the process of growth. Should be useful in furthering an appreciation of the dignity of life and the universality of its principles.
The introduction and conclusion of the film give it a broad life orientation; the central section deals with the scientific observation of life processes. At the college level some instructors considered the orientation nonessential; in the junior and senior high school it added dignity to the subject. Mitosis is particularly well shown through time-lapse photomicrography. A shorter sound version, How Animal Life Begins, has been edited from this film. A two-reel silent version is available under the title Ovulation, Fertilization, and Early Development of the Mammalian Egg.
Photography is excellent, sound fair.
VS huge rolling clouds - the heavens
VS waves hitting against rocks
CU fish in water - large school
CU eels
CU 2 frogs
CU 2 swans on water
CU cougar in tree
Doe and fawn at sunset next to water (silhouetted)

Shot of sky through trees
CU marching soldiers, guns across shoulders
2 children raising American flag, as a group of children in semicircle watch
CU children saluting (looks like Nazi salute)
Men (shirtless) pulling rope

2 doctors - around surgeon's table - removing ovaries of rabbit
VS/CU rabbit's ovaries, fallopian tube, uterus, etc.

Diagram of Mammalian Reproductive Track - titles : OVARY, OVIDUCT, UTERUS
Diagrams of Reproductive Track - uterus cut open, title : FOLLICLES
Diagram of ovulation - the escape and travel of the mature egg !! (animation and titles)

Animation and arrows with diagram of egg escaping
Titles : 1 EGG ESCAPES AS IN THE COW AND HORSE, 2 EGGS ESCAPE AS IN SHEEP (animation of egg escaping from each ovary), 3-4 SOMETIMES EVEN 10 ESCAPE AS IN DOG AND RABBIT (animation with arrows of several eggs escaping)

CU of ovulation - egg escapes from follicle in burst
CU follicle exploding - emitting egg
CU loss of blood

2 doctors at surgeon's table with rabbit (black gloves)
CU black gloved hands filling syringe and washes out oviduct into watch glass
Doctor looking through microscope
CU rabbit egg from microscope
Doctor looking through microscope
CU sperm swimming around

Diagram - female genital track
Animation of many tiny sperm swimming up female track
CU live rabbit egg "under attack by spermatozoa"

Diagram of sperm attacking egg

CU living rabbit egg - egg divides
Granules in egg become agitated just before division takes place
Egg dividing into cells
Various shots at different time intervals (1st 4 days of rabbit's life)

CU open womb of rabbit, held open by hemostats
Hands remove enlarged uterus
Hands count embryos in uterus
Hands - cut open uterus - remove 22 day old rabbit, rabbit attached to umbilical cord, placenta mass
CU rabbit attached to placenta, floating in black background
CU mother rabbit and her babies in hay
CU mother dog lying on hay as puppies nurse
CU dogs looking out over 1/2 door
MCU cow and calf in field
VS/MLS horse and foal, horses in background
CU baby (human)

Shows group of children all raising their hands in what resembles a Nazi salute.
Biology Reproduction Fertilization Eggs Sperm cells Children Life cycle Hands (raised) Sexuality Sexual reproduction


Reviewer: Telephone Toughguy - favoritefavoritefavorite - July 13, 2007
Subject: Save the rabbits
They are endangered and reproduce slowly like biblical dinosaurs. I would rather we didn't cut animals up for science but it doesn't bother me as much since the squirrels started wreaking havoc in my garden and killing my plants. Now rodents and I are at war.
Reviewer: mr_loophead - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 13, 2007
Subject: Propaganda, or realism?
Watch and decide for yourself.

Don't let the 1-star christians fool you. ;)
Reviewer: Claeyborn - favorite - May 30, 2007
Subject: Early Propaganda...
Just another propaganda/indoctrination film for evolution, spewing statements that are unfounded and unobservable.
Reviewer: Pichilingi - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2005
Subject: Get Real
I'm not sure what the previous reviewers were thinking. Yes, this film is graphic, but not disgusting by any means. The film is rather dated (1937), but overall I'd say it gives a good non-politically corrected presentation of mammalian reproduction and birth.
Reviewer: cashel - favoritefavoritefavorite - August 18, 2003
Subject: thank you spuzz
THANKS..I will NOT download tis film.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - August 18, 2003
Subject: Ugh.
Another one of these films that look far too innocent in the beginning, but then turn on you and gets graphic. The initial stages of this shows plenty of mammals and their young, like deer.. and rabbits.. Wait a minute! Did we see say Rabbit? Ever wonder how a rabbit is born? Why, we'll show you! Then it cuts into (literally) a rabbit being dissected and we see it's ovaries. Geez. After that, a pretty detailed course on how a rabbit egg is fertilized and grows. At the very end, I am not making this up, we cut into another rabbit, to see the rabbits ovaries with rabbit young still inside! then they do a CEASARIAN and take one of the young out for our examination. This film is DISGUSTING. :) Have a nice day!
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